Whitnall football team looks to bounce back in 2014 with new coach
McGranahan takes head spot
A new head coach will try to restore the Whitnall football program to the heights it enjoyed a few seasons ago.
Jared McGranahan takes over the top coaching spot for the Falcons, and he likes what he has seen during training camp.
"Things are going quite well," McGranahan said. "The kids are excited about things, and they are very hungry to get back to where the program has been (in the WIAA playoffs as recently as 2012). The kids are playing with a lot of energy."
Whitnall had a stirring duel for the quarterback spot in camp between senior Tyler Merritt, who is 5 feet 11 inches and 175 pounds, and junior Kyle Radavich (6-0, 165).
Merritt was the varsity starter last season and passed for 942 yards, while Radavich led the Falcons' junior varsity squad.
"Merritt is a good athlete and tremendous leader," McGranahan said. "He commands the huddle. Radavich stands tall in the pocket and has a cannon for an arm. He is a gunslinger type."
Merritt eventually won the starting spot and will be behind center as the Falcons open the season at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 22, at home against Slinger.
He will throw to senior wide receiver Michael Grim (6-3, 165), who caught 27 passes for 429 yards last season and earned honorable mention on the Woodland Conference all-East Division squad.
The running game will be led by senior Nick Monty (5-10, 160), who paced the Falcons in yardage with 479 last season and was given honorable mention, and senior Max Anderer (5-9, 155), who led them in touchdowns with five.
"They both played extensively last season and are nice athletes," the coach said.
The offensive line features senior guard James Menden (6-0, 220) and senior center Jacob Wolff (6-3, 315).
"We will use the pro-I offense with zone schemes, like the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater," McGranahan said.
Senior middle linebacker Michael Kremer (5-8, 185) made the all-division first team last season after leading Whitnall in tackles with 82.
Other defensive standouts include junior outside linebacker Kaiser Kastner (6-1, 205) with 49 tackles, senior cornerback Keanu Austin (5-9, 130) with 39 tackles and senior safety Joe Alexopoulos (6-0, 170) with 52 tackles. All earned honorable mention all-division last season.
The Falcons have plenty of experience, with 13 starters returning, including eight on defense.
McGranahan joins with most Woodland coaches in picking South Milwaukee and Brown Deer as the favorites in the East Division this season.
His team, along with Greenfield and Cudahy — all with new coaches this season — will make up the next level in the division.
The goal, though, is to return to the playoffs.
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